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Things to Know
Speak Softly and Carry Few Decoys by Don Jacobs

Decoys from the PitOver the last several years goose-hunting tactics have went through some change. Now you have to have 10 dozen full body decoys not 2 dozen shells. You need to get motion into your decoy spread. You have to learn to blow a short reed and double cluck. What happens when the geese no longer respond to this, matter of fact they avoid you like the plague.

As goose hunters when we find something that works with stick with it. However when it doesn't work we tend to be reluctant to change. We tell ourselves it was the weather or just not many flew today. All these excuses add up to nothing more than a goose-less dinner. Here are a few tricks we use for those late season birds.

The first thing we do when the birds stop responding to our normal tactics is stop calling. Not all together mind you, but we cut way back and listen to the geese. Are they noisy in they air? Chances are probably not, geese this late in the game tend to be silent. They fly silent a lot with just a few murmurs here and there. Now step in with the same murmurs and a few clucks, shock call them. Flagging is important with this. Get the flag up to catch their eyes as your call most likely wont. Some geese will really light up and talk back others will simply cup and commit. Geese responded problem solved, if not read on.

Sometimes simply less calling and more flagging still won't do it. What is wrong now? If you watch migratory geese feed in a field they tend to be really spread out. Why we ask, my take on it is because of the food supply. It is kind of like being at the end of the line for a buffet. Sure there is some food left, but not the good stuff. That is why we see a lotDecoy Map of field hoping this time of year. Field hoping is the clue here. Small groups of birds end up in these fields and other groups soon join in. That's right I am going after the decoys now. Early season geese will respond better to those 20 dozen Bigfoot's than the late flyers. Late flyers seem to like those smaller spreads. How small you say, hold on for this one. We have set as few as 4 decoys limited out on birds. Truth is I like an even dozen spread out. I will set a spread of family groups, 4, 3, and 2. I set a sentry outside about 30 feet with 2 active heads. If I am not getting response from the geese I will start pulling the feeder all the way down to leaving only the 2 actives and the sentry.

Keep in mind these are just suggestions, observations and nothing 100% foolproof. If we try this stuff and it doesn't work, well we go home drink beer and talk about "If the weather would have only beenand if they would have flew....."

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Don Jacobs


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